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9 Overlooked Technologies That Could Transform The World

9 Overlooked Technologies That Could Transform The World
What I've noticed is that most people don't really pay attention to "science" news, unless it's something that they can see immediately. I think this is at least partially because of the amount of news that comes out daily - whatever we may think about the quality of news, there is just a flood of it, which makes picking out "interesting" items difficult. When I talk about (just for example) the idea of gene therapy, most people think that it is still complete science fiction, as opposed to a very near-term product that will be available. Of course, CSP has been around for years, so it isn't really "new" to the average person. Finally, of course, for a majority of people, the only science fiction they think of it Star Wars/Trek, or (advanced!) If you are on friendly terms with a non-technical coworker, ask them about any of the subjects mentioned here, you will be surprised at their response. I get that, which is why I specifically mentioned "popular sci-fi." Related:  Transhumanism

Future - Science & Environment - Global resources stock check If we fail to correct current consumption trends, then when will our most valuable natural resources run out? As the world’s population soars, so does its consumption, and as a result we are stretching many of our natural resources to their limits. Of course, the assumption is that human ingenuity and market forces will prevent supplies from running out: we could create better or cheaper extraction methods, recycle materials, find alternatives to non-renewable sources, or reduce consumption. The hope is that talks at the Rio+20 Earth summit will help to steer the world economy on a more sustainable path. But the clock is already ticking, and if the unthinkable happens and we fail to correct current trends, then when can we expect our most valuable resources to run out? If you want to see the data we used to construct this infographic, you can find it here [PDF].

Transhumanism: The Most Dangerous Idea? "What ideas, if embraced, would pose the greatest threat to the welfare of humanity?" That question was posed to eight prominent policy intellectuals by the editors of Foreign Policy in its September/October issue (not yet available online). One of the eight savants consulted was Francis Fukuyama, professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, author of Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. In his Foreign Policy article, Fukuyama identifies transhumanism as "a strange liberation movement" that wants "nothing less than to liberate the human race from its biological constraints." Human liberation from our biological constraints began when an ancestor first sharpened a stick and used it to kill an animal for food. What is a human capacity anyway? Our ancestors had no wings; now we fly. Let's take their over-the-top scenario down a notch or two.

The Power of Technology Visit page > Big Think is a global forum connecting people and ideas. It may be a cliché to say that knowledge is power, but that doesn’t make the statement any less true. We know that there are just 24 hours in a day, that you are bombarded with information, and that the bombardment will only escalate. We believe that not all information is equal. We believe that expertise is invaluable and should be shared. Planetary Alchemy by Alan Smale Let’s fix Mars. Of course, the Red Planet is spectacular just as it is. Images from forty years of Mars missions have revealed its stark beauty and rose-tinted rocky grandeur. In its southern hemisphere Mars has ancient cratered highlands similar to the Moon’s, while much of the north consists of plains lower in altitude and geologically much younger. The giant shield volcano of Olympus Mons rises 24 km, three times as high as Everest, above the surrounding plains. Other canyons, networks of river valleys, stream beds, gullies, channels, layered deposits, deltas and alluvial fans provide strong evidence for flowing water, crater lakes and salty seas in a much warmer and wetter period of Mars’s history. There’s a lot to like about Mars. Some time in the future we might decide we need that dusty red real estate. Such a stunning transformation may be easier than you imagine. Keeping Pressurized and Keeping Warm Down to basics. First, the air pressure. Next: Temperature. Fixing Mars.

Bostrom Responds to Fukuyama’s Assertion that Transhumanism is World’s Most Dangerous Idea Nick Bostrom (Sept 10, 2004) “What idea, if embraced, would pose the greatest threat to the welfare of humanity?” This was the question posed by the editors of Foreign Policy in the September/October issue to eight prominent policy intellectuals, among them Francis Fukuyama, professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. And Fukuyama’s answer? Transhumanism, “a strange liberation movement” whose “crusaders aim much higher than civil rights campaigners, feminists, or gay-rights advocates.” More accurately, transhumanists advocate increased funding for research to radically extend healthy lifespan and favor the development of medical and technological means to improve memory, concentration, and other human capacities. According to transhumanists, however, the choice whether to avail oneself of such enhancement options should generally reside with the individual.

A Stick Figure Guide to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) (A play in 4 acts. Please feel free to exit along with the stage character that best represents you. Take intermissions as you see fit. Act 1: Once Upon a Time... Act 2: Crypto Basics Act 3: Details Act 4: Math! Epilogue I created a heavily-commented AES/Rijndael implementation to go along with this post and put it on GitHub. The Design of Rijndael is the book on the subject, written by the Rijndael creators. Please leave a comment if you notice something that can be better explained. Update #1: Several scenes were updated to fix some errors mentioned in the comments.Update #2: By request, I've created a slide show presentation of this play in both PowerPoint and PDF formats.

Who should pay when your robot breaks the law? Since it's inevitable I'll take the bullet and bring up Asimov's three laws of robotics: 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. 3. 0. Ike was horrified when people started talking about applying his three laws to real robots. Institute - Bioethics - Articles/News - The Transhumanists: By: Wesley J. SmithNational Review OnlineSeptember 20, 2002 Original article In recent years, scientists have mixed the DNA of a jellyfish with that of a monkey, creating a "transgenic" animal that glows in the dark. ("Transgenic" means possessing the genes of more than one type of organism.) Other researchers are creating transgenic animals that contain minute quantities of human DNA. But what about human transgenic research? Welcome to the surreal world of "transhumanism," a nascent and explicitly eugenic philosophy that advocates taking control of human evolution through gene modification. Transhumanists are breaking the intellectual ground they hope will eventually lead to public acceptance of genetic manipulation — not just to improve health, but to change our very natures. Transhumanists are biotech absolutists. Transhumanist theory has arisen in the context of a strengthening nexus between the views already popular in bioethics and animal-rights advocacy. — Wesley J.

University of South Carolina researchers convert T-shirt into energy storage medium - Images The researchers used a standard T-shirt purchased from a local discount store for their work Image Gallery (8 images) As manufacturers of smartphones and mobile devices strive to make their products increasingly portable, they repeatedly come up against the constraints of existing battery technology. However, Xiaodong Li, a professor at the University of South Carolina (USC) believes that we will soon be able to employ the clothes we wear to help overcome such challenges and to this end, Li has transformed T-shirt material into an energy storage medium which could one day be used to power portable devices. View all Beginning with a standard T-shirt purchased from a local discount store, Li’s team soaked the garment in a solution of fluoride, then dried and baked the fabric at high temperature in an oven, which is designed to exclude oxygen in order to prevent the fabric from igniting. Source: University of South Carolina About the Author Adam is a tech and music writer based in North Wales.

Vernor Vinge on the Singularity Vernor Vinge Department of Mathematical Sciences San Diego State University (c) 1993 by Vernor Vinge (This article may be reproduced for noncommercial purposes if it is copied in its entirety, including this notice.) The original version of this article was presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 30-31, 1993. Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Is such progress avoidable? What is The Singularity? The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century. There may be developed computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent. The first three possibilities depend in large part on improvements in computer hardware. What are the consequences of this event? I think it's fair to call this event a singularity ("the Singularity" for the purposes of this paper). But as time passes, we should see more symptoms. [8] Drexler, K.

NATURAL BORN CYBORGS? NATURAL BORN CYBORGS? By Andy Clark We cannot see ourselves aright until we see ourselves as nature's very own cyborgs: cognitive hybrids who repeatedly occupy regions of design space radically different from those of our biological forbears. The hard task, of course, is now to transform all this from (mere) impressionistic sketch into a balanced scientific account of the extended mind. Introduction "As our worlds become smarter, and get to know us better and better," writes cognitive scientist Andy Clark, "it becomes harder and harder to say where the world stops and the person begins." Clark's examines the"potent, portable machinery linking the user to an increasingly responsive World Wide Web," as well as "the gradual smartening-up and interconnection of the many everyday objects which populate our homes and offices." ANDY CLARK is Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, UK. See Andy Clark's Edge Bio Page NATURAL BORN CYBORGS?

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The best visuals to explain the Singularity to senior executives Tomorrow morning I’m doing a presentation to the top executive team of a very large organization on the next 20 years. Most of what I will cover will be general societal, business and technological drivers as well as specific strategic issues driving their business. However as part of stretching their thinking I’ll also speak a about the Singularity. As such I’ve been trying to find one good image to introduce my explanation, however I haven’t been able to find one which is quite right for the purpose. Ray Kurzweil’s Six Epochs diagram below is great and the one I’ll probably end up using, however it is a bit too over-the-top for most senior executives. Source: Ray Kurzweil, Applied Abstractions The chart below from Hans Moravec showing how exponential growth of computing power will allow machines to match human intellectual capabilities is excellent, but it is seriously out of date. Source: Hans Moravec, When will computer hardware match the human brain? Source: Ray Kurzweil, Tropophilia

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